My daughter, a single parent, has a 27-year-old son who has assaulted her several times. He has never worked and has been in trouble with the law because of drugs. Recently, she called me to ask if she and her son could spend the night with me. (They live 160 miles away.) I told her that because of his past behavior it wasn't a good idea.

She was very offended and said I would "never see her son again." After sending me several hurtful emails, she's no longer speaking to me, despite the fact that I have always taken care of her and listened to her problems about her son.

I deserve an apology - which I won't receive. But I feel bad about the situation. How do I fix it without apologizing myself?

- Dad With a Dilemma In Florida

DEAR DAD: Because you know an apology from your daughter won't be forthcoming, don't expect one. Considering the fact that your grandson has a tendency to be violent, I don't blame you for not wanting him in your home. So stand pat. Your daughter will start talking to you again as soon as she needs something from you. Of that, I am sure.

Even with translator, the eyes have it


I am a teacher who occasionally must conduct parent-teacher conferences through a translator. My colleague and I are wondering, what is the proper protocol for these conversations? We are not sure whether to make eye contact with the translator or the parent when talking and listening. Thank you for your help.

- An International Educator

DEAR EDUCATOR: It is important to make eye contact with the person with whom you are communicating. When you are being given a translation, it's all right to make eye contact with the translator. However, when asking a question or directing a comment to the parent, you should look the parent in the eye.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.